Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Mary and her accomplished Arabians 'endure'

Mineralwellsindex.com - Full Article

By Mary Sikes Fields | Special to the Index

In Mineral Wells, Texas, a sea of Quarter Horses, there is a small Arabian island south of town. Our family moved here in 1993, when I began training my first gelding for endurance (50- and 100-mile rides). We entered our first 25-mile ride in 1995 and our first 50 in 1996.

Vincent Keis wrote the first article in the Mineral Wells Index about my Arabian gelding, Christiansen, aka, Pippy, in May of 1997. Pippy had just won Reserve Champion Purebred in the Region IX Texas Bluebonnet Classic Championship Endurance Ride, held in Decatur. My goal was to complete the Western States Trail Ride, aka, Tevis Cup Ride, in California in 1998.

Pippy’s accomplishments were chronicled in the Index by Lela Abernathy and Craig Holamon over the ensuing years. We completed the Tevis Cup ride in August of 1998. He was chosen to be part of the United States Equestrian Team, Central Zone, to compete in the North American Endurance Championship in Canada in 1999. We went to the National Championship Endurance Ride in 2000. He placed in the top five in the Region IX Endurance Championship again in 2001. For each of six consecutive years, 1997-2002, Pippy placed in the Region IX top 10 for the year in overall miles and points in endurance, completing 500-655 miles a year.

Pippy survived many injuries and EPM, a life-threatening disease. He had surgery on his right hind leg in May of 2004. After recovery, he finished two more 50-mile rides in 2007, but I could tell that his leg was not the same. I retired him from competition. He still does pleasure rides at the Lake Mineral Wells State Park, where we have done all of our training. Pippy completed 3,840 miles in his endurance career. If we count the miles of training and the rides from which we pulled after some miles, I would guess that we have ridden close to 10,000 miles together...

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